Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Press Conference Highlights

Ant-Man and The Wasp

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Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” finds Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne continuing to explore life as a couple who also happen to be Super Heroes. Life is good: Scott has penned a book, Hope is championing humanitarian causes and their family, Hope’s parents, Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym, and Scott ’s daughter, Cassie is finally part of their day-to-day lives.

Cassie, it turns out, shares her new family’s passion for science and technology specifically with regard to the Quantum Realm. But her curiosity leads to an unexpected, one-way trip for them all to the vast subatomic world, where they encounter strange new creatures, a stricken society and a master of time whose menacing undertaking has only just begun. With Scott and Cassie pulled in one direction and Hope, Janet and Hank in another, they are lost in a world at war with no idea how or if they’ll ever find their way home again.

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp, Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror and Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, with Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. The film also features David Dastmalchian as Veb, Katy O’Brian as Jentorra, William Jackson Harper as Quaz and Bill Murray as Lord Krylar.

Directed by Peyton Reed from a screenplay written by Jeff Loveness, Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” is produced by Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard. Executive producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Kevin de la Noy. The creative team includes director of photography Bill Pope, production designer Will Htay, editors Adam Gerstel and Laura Jennings, and costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ.

The team also includes visual effects supervisor Jesse James Chisholm, visual effects producer Fiona Campbell Westgate and special effects supervisor Paul Corbould. Christophe Beck composed the sweeping score.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

During the Press Conference we got the chance to hear from the Filmmakers and Cast. Here are some of the highlights:

Q: Peyton Reed Director was asked: You’ve helped shape these superheroes and their adventures from the beginning.  What would you say is the signature of these movies, and how does Quantumania continue that while amplifying everything we know about Ant-Man and the Wasp?

Peyton: The Ant-Man movies have really always been about family.  It is a generational story about a family of heroes, and Scott Lang, who is not a billionaire or super scientist or anything, getting sucked into this world, and Hope van Dyne who is the legacy daughter of two superheroes, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer.  So it’s this generational thing, and now young Cassie Lang, who is probably Scott’s biggest motivating factor of, like, having time with his daughter.

He wants to be a hero, obviously.  He’s an Avenger, but it’s really about work-life balance and also finding time with his daughter.  It’s the most important thing.  In this movie, Cassie Lang is 18, but we continue the story of this family, and I think in Quantumania, one of the things we’ve done is really broaden that story and start talking about the secrets the family members keep from each other, the things they don’t tell each other.

And at the beginning of the movie, very quickly we find out that maybe Janet hasn’t told the family about her 30 years in the Quantum Realm, and maybe Hope and Hank have not told Scott about what they’re working on with Cassie down in the basement, and maybe Cassie hasn’t told her dad about time she might’ve spent in jail.

So everyone’s keeping secrets from Scott at the beginning of the movie, and suddenly, they’re thrust into the Quantum Realm, and they have to kind of work out these family dynamics while being in this bizarro, wacked-out world.  But it really is the theme of family that I think is the constant in the movies.

Q: How have Scott’s feelings about being a superhero changed since the very first Ant-Man in 2015?

Paul Rudd:  He is happy that all of that, it seems to be in the rearview mirror, and now we get to have kind of a normal life, have some time together.  And, you know, it doesn’t last, obviously, as long as maybe he thought it would.

But I think that he’s kind of grown a lot over the course of nine years or so that we’ve been doing these movies.  I mean, this is a guy who, like, started off, he [cough] had a regular job.  He was, you know, brought into this group and has no innate super abilities, but then he went up and fought Thanos. So he’s experienced a thing or two, and he’s accepted who he is.

Q: So set it up for us?

Paul: Well, I think, you know, when we start this movie, when you see this movie, it’s kind of been present day.  The events of Endgame, everything has already transpired.  I wouldn’t say he’s taking a victory lap, but others might say that.

And he’s written a book, you know, a memoir, look out for the little guy, and he’s explained everything that’s been going on in life and his experiences with the Avengers, but now he is ready to have some time, be a normal dad.  And, you know, there are some issues there, because we missed out on a lot, and I kinda wanna recapture some of those years.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

According to producer Stephen Broussard, the story takes existing characters into new terrain where they encounter a host of unfamiliar faces—some friendly, some not. “‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania’ is many things,” says Broussard. “It’s a family adventure first and foremost. It’s the story of a family of Super Heroes basically being pulled into an adventure within the Quantum Realm, and within that, it becomes an epic sci-fi war movie and a coming-of-age story. It’s a lot of different things wrapped into one film.”

Peyton Reed, who returns to helm the new adventure having directed the previous two movies in the “Ant-Man” lineup, knows the established characters inside out. He was eager to take them to new depths, so to speak, while maintaining their core familydriven values. “Scott ’s daughter, Cassie Lang, is now 18,” says Reed, “and Scott and Cassie’s relationship has always been a crucial part of the ‘Ant-Man’ movies.

His biggest motivation in life is to be a good father to his daughter, but events have kept him from spending time with her. In this movie, Scott struggles a bit because he still relates to Cassie as a kid, but she’s a young adult now. And she’s an idealist. She has her own ideas of how to conduct her life, which make for some really great dramatic and comedic tension.

“We wanted to explore the idea of secrets that family members might keep from each other,” continues Reed. “Hope and Hank rescued Janet from the Quantum Realm where she lived for 30 years. It’s easy to imagine that Hope had her own ideas about what it would be like to be reunited with her mom sharing all these stories, learning everything about her time away. But what would happen if her mom wasn’t so willing to share all that happened down there? What would happen if she put up an emotional wall? The movie is really about this idea that you can be done with the past, but the past is never done with you.”

Q: Evangeline, so how has Hope van Dyne evolved since audiences first met her, and what is she doing and doing well in Quantumania as the movie gets underway?

Evangeline: Well, Hope started the first Ant-Man film a very cold, detached, very isolated woman.

She didn’t have a lot of relationships in her life.  She had a lot of broken relationships in her life, and over the course of these three films, I’ve had this incredible arc to be able to play where she has, in that time, repaired her relationship with her father.  She’s reunited with her long-lost mother.  She’s fallen madly in love with Scott, and she’s become a stepmom to Cassie.  And so her life is just full of relationship, and it’s full of love, and she is really like a blossomed version of the woman that we met, and you see that in the work that she’s doing in the world.

She’s thriving and taking that love and spreading it around by trying to do right in the world and fix issues that are massive like global warming and housing crises, and she’s doing it with success.  And there’s this little hiccup.  There’s this little missing piece, which is that she had always fantasized about her mom coming home one day.  And I think ‘cause that fantasy started when she was 8 years old, it was, like, we’re gonna be best friends, and she’s gonna tell me everything, and we’re just gonna be so close.

Q: Kevin, this movie, a lot of it takes place in this Quantum Realm.  What exactly is the Quantum Realm, and where have we seen that before?

Kevin: Well, we first saw it in the first Ant-Man film, and I was sort of reminded recently that this was an idea that Paul had early on, before we started filming the first Ant-Man film, to what if we explore this, you know, quantum mechanics, which I’m happy to discuss at length today if you guys want.  Things act very differently at the quantum level, and Paul was talking about the amount of storytelling and imagination and fun that you could have there.  The first Ant-Man movie was mainly about meeting the characters and the origin story, of course, but at the very end of that, we got a taste of it, and that is what led to where we took it in Endgame.

And it is a place that is on the subatomic level where space and time act differently, and that allowed us to time travel at Scott Lang’s suggestion in Endgame, and it allowed us to have this entire manic quantumness [phonetic] in this film, where we go to a point where only Janet had ever seen before.  And as Evangeline said, she didn’t talk about it too much, where there is an entire universe below the surface where we meet all sorts of fun, crazy characters.

Q: Michael, so from Ant-Man and the Wasp to Hank and Janet, what is it about these movies that captivates audiences in your opinion?

Michael: I think the Ant-Man pictures we refer to family a lot, brings a vulnerability to these super-power characters that we see in a lot of Marvel films.  There’s a certain vulnerability.  And a sense of humor that exists that I think is really a pleasure.  This is very joyful for me as I’m learning more today about the whole experience than I’ve known, but I think it’s that sort of fun element about it.

Certainly there’s the danger but it seems to relate to all different ages.  Someone like myself who’s mostly reference to R-Rated movies, this has really been a pleasure to have younger kids coming up and enjoying it and seeing what’s going on.  So, kudos to everybody.

Q: Michelle, now that Janet has returned from the Quantum Realm after 30 years finally reuniting with Hank and Hope, what does she fill them in on in regards to all things subatomic?  What does she share with them and what does she not?

Michelle: Well, I don’t know what I can say about that.  But I will say that yes, after finally being rescued from the Quantum Realm after 30 years and reunited with her lovely husband Hank and daughter Hope, you know, she is just savoring this time together and quite, decidedly so, secretive about her time down there.

And not really wanting to get into that until, of course, we all find ourselves down in the parallel universe and parallel world.  And she is forced to come forth with the truth and in a place where she had hoped she would never see again.  And, you know, 30 years is a long time.  People have needs.  And let’s not be judgmental.  And so, I think there are a lot of surprises for the family.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Q: Jonathan, welcome to the MCU.  And, Kang the Conqueror has gotta be the coolest villain, or one of the coolest characters we’ve seen in the MCU. Can you explain the character and the concept of variants and what your approach is to playing them?

Jonathan: Who is Kang?  I think that is a question that we will all be answering for a very long time.  I think the quick answer to that is Kang is a time traveling super villain.

Who is also a nexus being.  Which leads to this idea of variants.  There’s multiple versions of Kang.  Versions being variants.  They occupy different universes, multi-verses, they have different intentions.  They are all different beings, and yet something that we’re still and I’m still working on and continue to refine and refine and refine to something as a throughline between them.  And that, to me, is the Kang gene.

KANG THE CONQUEROR is quite possibly the biggest threat the MCU has ever encountered, with multiple versions of the villain—each more terrifying than the last. Known as He Who Remains in “Loki,” this new and profoundly dangerous version of Kang intends to up his game, triggering a concerted effort from Scott, Hope, Janet, Hank and Cassie to stop him before it’s too late. Time, it seems, is Kang’s secret weapon, and he intends to use his unique understanding of it to conquer worlds far beyond the Quantum Realm.

“While retaining the intimacy of the family story, we decided we wanted to go really big,” says director Peyton Reed. “And to do that, we needed a world-class villain in a movie like this. As a kid who grew up reading all the comics, I always loved Kang the Conqueror. He was one of the great antagonists in the comics.”

According to Reed, the key to Majors’ performance was in embracing the character’s unique powers. “We had a lot of conversations early on about how this character would move and speak,” says Reed. “Kang is able to experience past, present and future at the same time. What does that look like? He conserves his energy. There’s not a wasted gesture or word, and if Kang says something, he means it.

“Jonathan brought an entirely different energy to the set,” continues Reed. “The ‘Ant-Man’ movies have always been comedies. I like to have a really relaxed, fun set so that the actors can go in front of the camera and feel comfortable trying weird stuff. It’s a safe space. And Jonathan came in as this disruptor—this very intimidating force. He carried music with him when he showed up on the set—we knew Kang the Conqueror was there. It was so great to put that energy up against Paul Rudd’s energy, and it mirrored what we were doing in the movie itself. A lot of people might consider Ant-Man the ‘weakest’ Avenger: ‘What can that guy do? He shrinks and talks to ants. That’s ridiculous.’ Puƫng that guy up against Kang the Conqueror, who’s the most powerful being in the multiverse—that seemed really exciting to us.”

Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania epic, sci-fi adventure opens in theaters nationwide on Feb. 17, 2023.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

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